District Leaders’ Guide for Developing a K-12 Professional Learning Plan

High employee turnover and attrition, coupled with continued student learning concerns, means district teachers and staff need more support than ever. K-12 professional learning is a crucial tool for districts to help their employees grow and reach district-wide goals. However, many educators cite a lack of engaging and effective professional development as a top factor in their decision to resign. So, what does a successful professional learning plan look like?

This 2023 guide provides K–12 leaders with strategies to plan high-quality and relevant professional learning with: 

  • 7 steps to develop an effective professional learning plan 
  • Recommendations for supporting novice and veteran teachers 
  • Case studies of other districts’ professional learning plans  
  • Discussion questions to assess and plan for improvements in your district

“Ultimately, effective professional development encourages participants to solve problems in their daily work, make positive choices about their professional growth, and contribute to their colleagues’ growth.”

Effective Professional Learning for Teachers and Staff

A high-quality professional learning plan is an ongoing, coherent program designed to improve the knowledge, skills, and abilities of teachers and instructional staff to ultimately enhance student academic outcomes. A combination of structured and job-embedded learning opportunities allows educators to collaborate with peers, build new skills, increase job satisfaction, and develop a more sophisticated understanding of each other’s teaching practices.  

An effective professional learning plan should: 

  • Include learning goals, actions to be implemented, a timeline, indicators of success, and an evaluation plan 
  • Ensure professional learning is relevant for teachers by differentiating based on content area, grade level, and career pathway 
  • Provide customized activities for novice and veteran teachers that incorporate active learning, collaboration, coaching, mentoring, and opportunities for feedback and reflection 

Hanover’s guide provides recommendations, strategies, case studies, and a discussion guide to inform vibrant professional learning plans that will help districts, educators, and students thrive. 

Download the guide to develop a professional learning plan that fosters stronger teacher engagement.

Use the strategies in this guide to build better K-12 professional learning plans for your entire district

Inspire teacher professional growth

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